Saturday, 25 November 2017

Hawfinch Hotspot and Patch Update

Having not seen any more Hawfinch on patch since my Colyton duo earlier in the month, I've been keen to get to Shute where James Mc found 3+ birds in the Churchyard a couple of weeks ago. Shute is only a couple of miles outside the Axe patch, which makes the fact we've not had any more here even more frustrating!

I spent a couple of hours wandering around the lanes of Shute on Thursday morning and heard/saw 10-15 birds, including groups of five and four.  I didn't have any in the Churchyard at all, and my god they could be elusive little blighters - it's a good job they were so vocal!   Most views were similar to this...



But this more distant bird perched up nicely for a few minutes...



There's plenty of Yew, Hornbeam and Field Maple around Shute and most birds seemed quite mobile, but I've highlighted on the map below where I saw most of mine. They are still being seen around the Church as well so don't walk past here without checking the Yews carefully.  I can't stress enough how useful it is to know the various different Hawfinch calls before visiting, particularly the 'seep' call. It's an unobtrusive and subtle sound, but distinctive once learned - they're still not particularity easy to pin down though even when they are calling!



Back to the patch, and I'll quickly summarise my patch highlights over the past week or so...

I had two Brambling with a large flock of Chaffinch at Stafford Cross back on 14th Nov, and a return visit on Thursday morning showed there were at least five now present...

Female Brambling
Male Brambling


I saw another Brambling yesterday, along Clay Lane in Colyton. This afternoon, a Facebook message from a visitor from London, Mark Knivett, reporting two Black Redstarts feeding along the cliff edge on the West Walk, reminded me of this lovely first-winter male Black Red I had along Trevelyan Road on 16th Nov...



It's proving to be an absolutely stonking autumn/early winter for thrushes around here. So SO many Redwing about, in other years we often don't get good numbers of grounded winter thrushes until after Christmas...

Redwing


And I think that's it from me for today, so I shall bid you all a good night...

Seaton Beach looking towards Beer Head on the evening of 17th Nov.


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